Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews returns to practice

The Leafs star was back at practice for the first time since undergoing wrist surgery.


Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews practiced with the team for the first time since undergoing wrist surgery on August 13, participating in puck-handling drills and taking shots. 

However, he didn't speak with media members following his approximately 30-minute workout session. 

"He looked good to me out there in terms of how he was moving and I know he was excited to be back on the ice with some of his teammates," coach Sheldon Keefe said. "It's another step in the process, I don't know where it's going to lead, but I think he's going to stay on a similar type of plan for the remainder of this week."

"He's basically just doing the non-contact pieces at this point, the stuff that involves skating, shooting and passing, he's capable of that right now," Keefe said. "In terms of game play, face-offs for a center are significant, so that's why he needs a little bit more time."

Thanks to his historic campaign, Matthews became the first Leafs player in 75 years as well as the first United States-born player in 24 years to lead the NHL in goal scoring. Unfortunately, that success wouldn't carry over to the postseason, as he failed to make any significant impact for Toronto during their stunning Round 1 series loss against the Canadiens, registering just one goal and four assists in the seven games played. 

He'll be a major key to Toronto's success this season, and you can bet captain John Tavares is excited to see him back on the ice. 

"Obviously sky is the limit for him," Tavares said. "I know he just wants to continue to improve and not rest on what has made him successful. What's really impressive battling the injury last year was his ability to adapt his game. He has such a unique shot and release, and I know it's talked about so much, but his ability to adjust when that's not available to him, whether if it's because something is bothering him, or the opponent is taking his time and space away. His ability to find ways to produce in different ways is why he's become so consistent and so dangerous."